For the past week or so, people I know have stopped me to ask me how Yasser was dealing with the incident that happened at Fort Hood. This question is a valid one, and since most people I know in America do not know any muslims, I figure this is their way to get a personal view into what "other muslims" think.
Let me begin with - he is completely disgusted by the act of this man. No one finds sniper behavior or the killing of innocent people okay. Not in any religion.
For some of my friends and family in Egypt - if you are not aware - there was a horrific incident on a military base in Texas. Fort Hood is the largest U.S. military base - home to more than 53,000 active duty soldiers, many of whom have served multiple times in Iraq and Afghanistan. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a major concern there as at any base.
The suspect, identified as Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, opened fire at a military processing center at Fort Hood . Hasan, 39, is a graduate of Virginia Tech and a psychiatrist licensed in Virginia who was practicing at Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood, according to military and professional records. Previously, he worked at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
A federal official said Hasan is a U.S. citizen of Jordanian descent. Military documents show that Hasan was born in Virginia and was never deployed outside the United States.
In the end, the shooting rampage at Ft. Hood came down to a gunfight between two civilian base police officers toting standard sidearms and a 39-year-old psychiatrist armed with .357 Magnum and a pistol equipped with laser sighting and extra bullets, officials said.
Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, disturbed about his upcoming deployment to Afghanistan (not Iraq, contrary to earlier reports), reportedly entered the Soldier Readiness Processing Center just before 1:30 p.m. Thursday. He took a seat at a table. It seemed as if he was there to help soldiers who were undergoing medical exams and finishing paperwork before shipping out to war.
Hasan, who had prayed at his mosque that morning, allegedly mumbled something to himself -- it may have been a prayer -- then jumped up. Witnesses reported that he said: "Allahu akbar," Arabic for "God is great."After that, the blood began to flow.
Thirteen people would die; 38 others were injured. As investigators began their probe into the motivations of the gunman, President Obama urged people Friday to reserve judgment until more is known. Base commander Lt. Gen. Robert Cone said that Hasan remained hospitalized, unconscious and on a ventilator.
In a statement released Thursday, Hasan's cousin, Nader Hasan, said his family is "filled with grief for the families of today's victims."
They also said "Our family loves America. We are proud of our country, and saddened by today's tragedy," the statement said. "Because this situation is still unfolding, we have nothing else that we are able to share with you at this time."
Again - this is horrible. But the one thing I can't stand - is that people are pointing back to the religion.
I remember the days when not to long ago, I would cringe every time I heard that a religious leader molested a child. I would cringe even more when I found out they were a catholic priest. (I am catholic.) Obviously - this is not the norm in the catholic church - nor does any catholic condone this horrific behavior - the same is true for the Islamic religion. No one condones killing innocent people.
I work in Public Relations/Media Relations - and I made a joke that what is needed here is a good PR blitz to show the "happier, loving" side of this religious group.
And that is what I wanted to share. Look - I am not saying I agree with some of the things listed in the Qu'ran. No. What I am saying is, as a woman who is married to an arabic speaking, mosque praying muslim - THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT BAD.
To sound like a country person - There is crazy everywhere. And there is. As a society - we like to pin the crazy with a label. Let's find one thing that is the most important to this person. If a man is of Jordanian decent - we can guess that he is probably muslim - people of muslim faith are usually quite devout - so let's point the issue in that direction.
There are some scary websites out there that specifically try to vilify Islam. I found one in particular - Jihad watch -if you read this website it would terrify you. Now on the other hand, check out - The Islamic Religion - this website breaks down everything you need to know without showing the "fringe" portion of society.
Looking back at the title of this blog - "Who knew I would ever have to defend?" - it is so true. I never thought this little catholic girl would ever find herself saying.. no no.. that's not what is taught.
I assure you - THAT IS NOT WHAT IS TAUGHT.
If you are thinking about the crazy Taliban group - remember - what is the best way to become a war lord?? Use religion. Thinking about Iraq? This is a territorial dispute around various denominations of muslims. The US is there for our own $$ interests.
I have been to the middle east. I have family and friends who live there. I even hosted an Iraqi exchange student in my home for one year. (Who happened to be a Kurd and very anti-Saddam.)
I just want people to know: our vision of what has happened is not good. Yasser is just as disgusted as the next person. I am disgusted. Though I think this person did what he did because he is not well. Mentally.
I also think what is going on across the sea is nothing more than poor countries getting taken advantage of by a few "screwy" war lords who are nothing more than bullies looking for $$$. It is easy to over take and dominate a group of God fearing, peaceful people.
Educate. Ask questions. Feel remorse. Seek understanding.